Partnership in the Gospel

On Sunday 26th July the team joined worship at La Trinidad in Cochabamba. The church is led by Tammy Smith-Firestone (the first woman ordained to the priesthood in Bolivia) and a committed and wonderful lay team. There was a lovely atmosphere at this communion service. The congregation was a good size and included people of a range of ages and backgrounds. Young people from two Children’s Homes close to the church come along each Sunday.

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Bishop Maurice from the Birmingham Team preached and presided at communion

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Maurice preached on Philippians 1. In verse 4 and 5 we read:

‘In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’

Maurice spoke of this partnership in the gospel, the depth it has and the joy it brings. He related it to the wonderful and evolving partnership between Bolivia and Birmingham.

The Anglican church in Bolivia is exciting, it is however young (being just under 40 years old). Partners in the gospel are both key and a real blessings. It is with much prayer and consideration that the future flourishing of the Birmingham- Bolivia partnership is being considered. This partnership is two way – there is much we can learn from one another and many ways we can support and share with one another. It is a real gift. Please consider your part as a partner in the gospel with Bolivia and please do pray for the churches, their leaders, the congregations, their discipleship and their mission.

We, the members of the 2015 Birmingham team, are so grateful for all the hospitality love and care we have received in Bolivia and the many new friends and partners in the gospel that we now have.

Here is a picture of the Pastors of Anglican churches in Bolivia and the Birmingham team

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We are also grateful to our partners in the gospel in the UK – our families, friends and church members who have been praying for us and supporting us – THANK YOU

 

 

 

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Moving Forward Together in God

‘Moving Forward Together in God’ was the title of the Diocese of Bolivia Leaders Conference in Cochabamba last week. The clergy and lay leaders from Santa Cruz, Tarija, La Paz and Cochabamba together with the Birmingham team all gathered together in a beautiful setting on the outskirts of Cochabamba at a Dominican Sisters Retreat Centre.

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John Corrie provided the Bible Studies each morning where we looked at Gideon.

The other members of the team provided teaching input over the three days. There was a great deal of openness, much sharing and learning and a great time of ministry, reflection and fellowship.

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The conference was a great blessing to all, the team felt privileged to be a part of it. Please pray for the Anglican church in Bolivia – for Bishop Raphael, for the issues each church faces and for the relationship between churches and leaders.

On top of the world

At this point in our trip four members have flown to the city of Tarija and the church there, that is Geoff, Mary, John and Matt

The other four, Maurice, Andy, Matt and Manda have flown to the city of La Paz to visit and work with the two churches there.

Here´s a short update from La Paz

We feel like we are On top of the world!

This applies firstly to our geographical location at just above 4000 metres. We flew into the airport which is in El Alto a flat plain with the bowl containing the city of La Paz below. We had a warm welcome from Pastor David and Pastor Pedro and from the gorgeous sunshine which we had not seen in Santa Cruz!

The first thing we did was go to a view point and take in the amazing view of the city which gave us the wonderful chance to pray over the cityBirmingham Pastors 312

 

There is a new amazing cable car in La Paz which we have now been on twice as it is a regular mode of transport for people, a subperb way to get around the city. The views are phenomenal.

The second way we have felt on top of the world is in the joy of joining in the activities of the church. We had a wonderful time on Saturday morning at the childrens breakfast club at Cristo Redentor where children come to eat breakfast, hear a bible story and then to play games. Maurice, Matt and Andy did a sterling job of playing football at altitiude and Manda used the parachute and played various games with the younger children, mainly the girls.

It was very striking to see a young lad half an hour after the breakfast club putting leaflets on car windscreens. The club certainly provides space and a chance for children to be children and to be given adult attention and care.

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The biggest On top of the World experience has been the ways we have seen God at work and the movement of the Holy Spirit. Maurice spoke on Friday evening on the account of Pentecost and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. We then had the privilege of praying for people. On Saturday afternoon Andy taught clearly about praying for healing for people and we looked at Acts 9 and the way the Holy Spirit prompted Ananias to go to a certain place and that he would find someone named Saul – Paul and that Paul could not see. One lady was healed of 2 conditions as she volunteered to be prayed for while everyone learnt how to pray on the streets, and she then joined everyone on the streets with great enthusiasm. We prayed before we went out and waited on the Holy Spirit for His prompting and people took various things with them. Many people were prayed for at a location not far from the church and we have heard a number of reports from healing – Praise God.

There was someone who felt a prompt to go to a local park as there was a woman in need whereas another person was given a picture of a butterfly. As soon as the team of 4 walked into the park there were 2 teenagers – one wearing a top with two large butterflies on. The team talked to them and the other girl wanted to speak with the team and she outlined a very troubled past and was suffering from nightmares. She was prayed with and there was a long conversation. When the group explianed how they had been led to her by the work of Jesus and she was asked if she wanted Jesus in her life and she accepted Him. Please pray for ´M´ for a new start, release from nightmares and to find a church and to get to know Jesus day by day. God did amazing things here Saturday afternoon and we know he continues the good works He has started we give Him the glory. We feel on top of the world and very privileged to have been able to join in with what God is doing here – it is very exciting and there´s no feeling like it

Today, Sunday, Andy preached at Cristo Redentor and Matt shared a testimony and Manda preached at Cristo Salvador and Maurice shared a testimony. The theme of the Holy Spirit was continued and we pray that individuals and these churches feel refreshed and renewed in vision for all God is calling them to.

We are very fortunate to be having a ´touristy´ on top of the world experience tomororw as we go to Lake Titicaca the highest lake of its size in the world.

 

No Perfect People Allowed

Birmingham 035´No Perfect People Allowed´ is the sign on the wall in the coffee shop / cafe at Al Ferero – a Christian Centre doing amazing ministry amongst students. It is a striking and unusual sign but a message that could be used to give a flavour and an insight to the things that took place on Wednesday 15th July.

In the morning we had a great time of sharing and teaching with the church leaders in Santa Cruz. We were generously welcomed and hosted at the church Christo Luz Del Mundo (Christ Light of the World). Each member of the Birmingham team outlined something they had learnt from being in leadership and also shared challenges and struggles – we know we are not perfect and sharing at this level was very powerful. God had gone ahead of us and by His grace these issues seemed to resonate with the leaders here and God was at work amidst this openness.

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After lunch we went to visit Al Feroro. This fantastic Christian presence and ministry amongst students is brilliant. The coffee shop / cafe is of extrememly high quality and a lovely setting. As well as the ´No Perfect People Allowed´sign there is also one announcing ´No Wi-Fi´- this lack of internet connection aims to encourage deeper connections and real conversation between the people who gather here. Maybe more places should encourage this? In this Centre there are also counselling rooms and facility to offer help and support to single parents.

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In the evening there was a healing servcie at the church. It was great to worship together in Spanish. Geoff preached clearly and powerfully on Jesus healing the woman with bleeding and the raising of Jairus´daughter from Mark 5. He talked of the healing that was occuring at differnet levels – physically, psychologically and in restoring the woman from being an outcast to being part of the community again. There was then an extensive time of prayer ministry in which God was powerfully at work. People were willing to share their needs, hopes and vulnerabiliteis and there was evidence of the work of the Holy Spoirit and of healing. Please pray for this continuing work in peoples lives.

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It was a full and wonderful day for which we are thankful to the Lord

Amazing Welcome

IMG_9601Just a short post from a slightly tired team to let you know that we are safely in Santa Cruz. The 33 hour door-to-door journey was smooth, some fun moments and a good time together as a team.

The welcome we received from our Bolivian brothers and sisters as we arrived at Santa Cruz airport was amazing. Such warmth and generosity. Old friendships renewed and new friendships beginning to be established. What a gift being part f the world wide family of God is.

We have had some rest and eaten some great food.

We´ve had a very helpful meeting with Bishop Raphael looking at our programme for ther next two weeks. Plus a really good time praying together. If you are someone who prays please pray for our time with and input to the church leaders and members over the next 2 days that we can both serve and receive. Please pray for the healing service on Wednesday evening.

As we go..

So, departure is imminent and we are all very excited. One member of our team, John Corrie, flies today. The rest of us fly tomorrow and today we are involved in our regular Sunday activities plus packing, checking, re-checking and re-packing! It is at the point of packing for a mission trip that I often reflect on the Bible passage in which Jesus sends out his disciples in mission (Mark 6:7-13) and he tells them to take no bread, no bag and no money! I confess my suitcase and pockets do not reflect that instruction! But one of the things Jesus is saying here is trust me and receive hospitality where you find it. We are praying that we will trust God for everything on this trip and we know we will be treated to incredible hospitality which we aim to delight in and be thankful for.

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If you are someone who prays could you please pray for ease of travel, good forming of relationships, health and that God will do all He wants in and through us.

 

Hello everyone

We are very excited about the Birmingham Bolivia 2105 Trip. We will be leaving the UK on Monday 13th July. We fly into Santa Cruz and after a couple of days half the team fly to La Paz and the other half to Tarija. We then meet back for week 2 in Cochabamba to run a 3 day conference for clergy and laity. These places can be seen on this map.Bolivia map

We are a team of 8 Christians from the Church of England Birmingham who are heading off on a two week trip to Bolivia to join with the Anglican church there. We aim to learn, build and strengthen relationships, join in with existing ministry, deliver some teaching, join in worship and preach and enjoy our fellowship in the Lord Jesus together.

We will be aiming to update the blog a few times prior to our departure and during our trip to provide you with information and to ask you to pray should you be willing to do so.IMG_3229Members of the team seen in the picture above are Maurice, John, Mary, Geoff, Matt C, Andy and Manda. The other member of our team is Matt J

We are all looking forward to the opportunity to spend this time in Bolivia and we are excited to see what God is doing and will do.